Coming into their district opener against Alice, the Tuloso-Midway Warriors wanted a fresh start. After starting the year 0-4, the Warriors looked like a new team, as they gave the Coyotes all they could handle. But in the end, Alice pulled away from what started out as an even game.
The Coyote's defense shut out the Warriors in the second half and paved the way to a 38-17 homecoming victory Friday night in Memorial Stadium.
“We played them pretty good early,” Warriors Coach Jose Sendejar said. “We played with them for about three quarters. But there were just too many things we couldn't capitalize on.”
Alice's defense had a handful of crucial stops, but the clincher came when the Coyotes fumbled a punt at their own 17-yard line in the first minutes of the fourth quarter. Alice led 28-17, but with a short field, the Warriors seemed primed to cut the lead.
“We were in the redzone on several occasions,” Sendejar said. “It just didn't come together when we needed it.”
Alice defensive backs A.J. Perez and Lukas Aguilar had a stop on the Warriors' first play of the fourth quarter drive. After two incomplete passes, T-M kicker Joseph Segura attempted a field goal that was blocked and recovered at the 31-yard line.
The Warriors seemed to have all the answers early in the game. They scored on their first possession on a 66-yard run by Tyler Smith. They scored again in the second quarter on a halfback pass to Mark Reyes. Smith ended the night with 78 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
While it wasn't enough to put away the Coyotes, Sendejar showed pride in his group.
“We don't have any quitters here,” he said. “That score is misleading. It was probably the best ball game we've played all year.”
The Coyotes' defense, which had given up only one touchdown in its last two games, held the Warriors to only 140 yards of offense and eight first downs.
The Warriors will hope to get another strong effort this Friday, when they take on rival Calallen. The Wildcats are 5-1 on the season, with a 2-0 district start.
“They're a typical Calallen team,” Sendejar said. “They're well-disciplined and take advantage of their opponent's mental mistakes. They certainly don't want to get beat by Tuloso-Midway, so we know they'll be playing hard.”
The game will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Warrior Stadium.
The Robstown Cotton Pickers had another rough outing, losing their fifth-straight game Friday night to Ingleside, 74-6.
It was the second game this year in which Robstown allowed more than 70 points.
The Mustangs started off fast, with two of their first half touchdowns coming off 'Picker turnovers — one from a fumble and another by interception.
J.J. Martinez got the 'Pickers on the board in the second quarter on a 57-yard run. But Ingleside receiver Matt McHugh caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tristen Barajas to give the Mustangs a 41-6 lead at halftime.
Barajas torched the 'Pickers, throwing for 456 yards on the night. McHugh and his twin brother, David, were on the receiving end of six of Barajas' eight touchdown passes. David McHugh had a total of 263 yards receiving.
Quarterback Victor Leal led the 'Pickers' offense with 70 yards rushing.
Robstown is hoping for a fresh start next week when they begin their District 31-3A season against the West Oso Bears. The Bears are 1-4 on the season, with their lone win coming against Moody in their season opener.